Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Penguin on Ice"

"Penguin on Ice"
Watercolor on Paper
© 2006

   I took several successive watercolor classes at the nearby Irvine Fine Arts Center. I had a terrific instructor, Marlene Gerloff, who gave us the freedom to try a wide range of techniques with a variety of subjects.
   I worked on many paintings. However, there were only two I considered successful enough to frame. "Penguin on Ice" was one of the two.
   "Paint animals and use a wet-into-wet technique" was the assignment on the day this picture was painted. Marlene supplied several magazine clippings of animal photos. I chose one with three penguins. To simplify my composition, I focused on one of the penguins. It sketched out quickly.
   To further simplify matters, I decided to use only three colors from my palette of 26 watercolors. I chose only the secondary colors of orange (Cadmium Orange), purple (Ultramarine Violet), and green (Viridian Green). The entire painting was composed of just these three colors. Even the black feathers were made from several glazes of two or three of the colors. I was amazed at the versatility of this limited palette.
   I'm told that the underside of the left wing is purple; I was shooting for gray. I would have been reticent to purposefully paint the underside purple. However, this fortunate misstep added accidental interest.
   Besides wet-into-wet, I used washes, dry brush, and the aforementioned glazes.
   I have yet to master the medium, but that does not diminish my enjoyment of watching wet colors spread, swirl, and blend with expected and unexpected results.

(I use a Quiller Palette and a Quiller Wheel. I tried a rectangular Robert Edwards palette, but found it difficult when trying to locate the complement of a selected color.
The round Quiller Palette is designed as a color wheel. Working from a color wheel and using watercolors was a manageable way to further understand color relationships. It helped me mix colors in my head - to imagine the resulting mixtures.
Furthermore, the palette and the laminated Quiller Wheel graphic allowed me to arrange my watercolors with confidence. I checked the names of the colors on my paint tubes against the names called out on the graphic. I depended a lot on the tube labels. With an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie, I carefully wrote the names on the ridge of each paint well.)


程霜 said...

Great Work Bernard! And welcome to the blog ring. Look forward for more releases of your master pieces...

I've been writing on my blog since 2005 (in Chinese though). Sooner or later, you may want to set up a Facebook account and start posting your artwork in Facebook too!


Moon said...

I'm enjoying your blog. It was sent to me by our mutual friend, Colucci. You met me at one of their functions, Deborah. I'm the pastel artist.

Keep posting like this one. I do enjoy the knowledge of the process almost as much as the painting itself.

My work is at

Tracy said...

ohhhh! I love your penguin Bernard, keep painting. I'm glad you retired and are finding time, finally, to showcase your talent.

Dabblerteer said...


How did I not know, besides wine tasting, you're into golf, ballroom dance, snowboarding, ultimate driving machines, and lyrics. I guess I didn't ask the right questions when we had those project lunchs. I was impressed by the wine tasting certificate you were pursuing; the rest just leaves me speechless.

You're an engineer, you're suppose to lead a non-cultural, quiet life!

Kidding aside, thank you very much for the support.

Thanks for visiting the blog. I look forward to visiting again at the next get together.

Thanks for the nice thoughts. We will see you again, soon.